The HCA reliability trial, now the Imps (John Kay) reliability trial is always a bit of a mystery tour; you never know what sadistic route he will come up with. Basically you meet up with other colourful souls on a street corner in Brighouse, queue to meet a man who asks you questions like "long one or short one?"(mileage) and "fast or slow one?"(time), exchange a sovereign for a piece of paper that condemns you to a few hours of self inflicted torture. It must be said at this point that the only answers to these questions for an aspirational Condor are "long" and "fast", even if you've hardly ridden a bike through winter.
It turned out the route was tame by JK's standards; a loop out to Otley, Burnsall, Gargrave and back, no hidden agenda in the form of 1 in 5 back roads, and so off we go to wallow in the delights Bradford ring road has to offer.
Melv and Robin set an admirable tempo from the start, only to be rudely evicted from the front by Pedalsport's Danny who decided more speed was needed, at least it thinned the group out into more traffic manageable portions, though the myriad of traffic lights undid his good work.
Pete Horne had been looking forward to the climb up to Yeadon airport, "Ialways get dropped up there" he complained at the start - and he did - just like he said. The power of positive thinking.
I meanwhile was doing my best to shirk any responsibility for cutting through the nagging north-westerly by hiding at the back studying rear hubs, becoming quite an authority on the design and construction of said items. Pool Bank, Otley, Ilkley, Bolton Abbey all went by in a Condor/VS cycles powered flash and we turned a more southerly direction at Linton.
The road gets lumpier after Hetton and the well regimented peleton got a bit ragged as people started to fade and drift off the back. The climbs out of Gargrave had Robin on the ropes and I was instructed to make his excuses at the finish as he headed straight home. Niall Smith too was shelled out; his Dad (Sean) declaring him "big enough to get back on his own now".
Ingrow saw the big guns firing and a steady pounding of the pedals by John, Chris,
Sean, Danny and Melv had me and Brian hoisting the white flag. I decided to drop off when the hub in front went into soft focus with stars dancing around my eyes; time to go through the one way door into the zen like place where pain diminishes and all is peace (see previous blog ref.north-west passage!)
Meanwhile back in the real world the elite are working each other over up by the tip at the top. Melvin, finding himself wanting, decides the best form of defence is attack and gets dropped for his efforts by Sean, Chris and John who nearly made a very close inspection of the roadworks. The soon to be racing trio finished first and Melv (who should be racing as well) consoled himself by dropping Danny on the last climb; well it would have been rude not to.
All this fun and frivolity and we're back at the Pineberry and its barely half past one. Not much later Paul Gower and John Lumb roll in having completed the more sedate 50/60 mile route (as opposed to our 75/80) looking very fresh.
As Pete would say, especially when he trundles in at five past two having ridden most of it on his own, "it's not meant to be a race you know!"